The reality is marriage isn’t always bliss. Marriage is about ups and downs. Some couples are ready to give up on each other when times are too difficult. They believe walking away from the marriage is easier than confronting the problems as a team. But if the love is pure and strong, then love can overcome anything. And if you have children, walking away from marriage without trying to make it work can set a bad example for them.
At the beginning of my marriage, my husband and I felt we were on a non-stop roller coaster ride. One minute things were at their best, and the next minute things were at their worst. Of course, we could have easily given up. After all, we both came from failed marriages. So, what was the big deal if we had another divorce? Well, the big deal was divorce was not an option. Love was and continues to be our only option.
During times of hardship, do not give in to your vulnerability. Remain strong with your spouse and weather the storm together. Once you experience the storm a few times, you will come to understand how love, along with other factors, has pulled you and your spouse closer and not apart.
Here are 3 secrets to a lasting marriage:
• Kindness. If your spouse is overwhelmed at work or facing a personal challenge and appears melancholy, be kind. Do not use phrases such as, “get over it” or “it’ll be fine.” Don’t roll your eyes and shrug your shoulders. Those are signs that you don’t care. The truth is your spouse needs words of encouragement and kindness. Ask if he wants to talk about it. Ask what you can do for him. Make sure your spouse knows he can count on you.
• Generosity. A lasting and healthy marriage comes from mutual generosity. When you do something nice for your spouse, or he does something nice for you, remember to give thanks. Don’t take your marriage for granted and assume your spouse knows you are thankful. Believe it or not, marriages suffer due to unspoken feelings and thoughts. Show how much you love each other through small details such as holding hands, giving each other kisses, or cuddling while watching a movie.
• Patience. There’s no doubt that a marriage requires patience. Being patient is not about hearing what your spouse has to say, but to actually listen to the words. Though you may not necessarily agree with what your spouse is saying, try to understand. Try to put yourself in his place for just that moment. How would you feel if the roles were reversed? Wouldn’t you want someone to listen to you? In addition, patience is not jumping to conclusions or immediately accusing your spouse of something. Patience is asking questions first and waiting for responses second. Never use hurtful words or physically disrespect each other. You will both regret it when things simmer down.
Long-lasting marriages do exist especially when the husband and wife collaboratively embrace patience, kindness and generosity with an open mind and open heart.
(Mayra Bitsko is a freelance writer, the author of A Second Chance and The Past Beckons and holds a master’s degree in business administration-accounting.)